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Scorpions – Comeblack

Scorpions – Comeblack (2011, Sony Music Entertainment)

1. “Rhythm of Love” – 3:39
2. “No One Like You” – 4:06
3. “The Zoo” – 5:38
4. “Rock You Like a Hurricane” – 4:15
5. “Blackout” – 3:48
6. “Wind of Change” – 5:08
7. “Still Loving You” – 6:43
8. “Tainted Love” (Gloria Jones cover) – 3:28
9. “Children of the Revolution” (T. Rex cover) – 3:33
10. “Across the Universe” (The Beatles cover) – 3:17
11. “Tin Soldier” (Small Faces cover) – 3:15
12. “All Day and All of the Night” (The Kinks cover) – 3:16
13. “Ruby Tuesday” (The Rolling Stones cover) – 3:55

Band:
Klaus Meine – Lead vocals
Matthias Jabs – Lead Guitar, Backing vocals
Rudolf Schenker – Rhythm Guitar, Backing vocals
Paweł Mąciwoda – Bass, Backing vocals
James Kottak – Drums, Percussion, Backing vocals

Producer: Mikael “Nord” Andersson & Martin Hansen

So, even though this album wasn’t released until January 2012 in North America, it was released in Europe in November 2011. This is how it snuck its way onto the 2011 edition of the Metal Excess Awards because I heard the album last year. I’d been putting off doing a review of this album for awhile and now that it’s available worldwide, this is as good of a time as any to talk about it.

Like most people, whenever I hear that a band is re-recording their signature songs, I just roll my eyes. It’s not really intended for the fans. It’s something that’s done as way to cut old labels/band mates out of royalties by licensing the new versions for commercials purposes instead of the originals. I understand and accept that. Anything that puts the screws to the idiots at the major labels is cool by me. Financial reasons aside, those type of releases are plain filler when it comes to the serious fan.

But I have to give the Scorpions credit for this album. Yes, they re-recorded seven of their biggest hits, and that means virtually nothing to the die-hards but they also added six freshly-recorded cover songs that helped inspired the band during their formative years. That (and only that) is what makes this album interesting and worth looking into as far as I’m concerned.

I will say this, given the modern and slightly beefier production, the classics sound good in their updated form. I won’t even bother listing them in the Highlights section because it’s familiar territory. I could’ve gone without yet another cover of “Tainted Love” but all of the covers are well done with the Beatles, T. Rex and Small Faces tunes standing out.

This supposedly is the FINAL Scorpions release, but you know how that goes… For $9 or so, if you’re a big fan of the Scorps, this is worth picking up.

Highlights: “Children of the Revolution”, “Across the Universe”, “Tin Soldier”

http://www.the-scorpions.com/
http://www.facebook.com/Scorpions

Buy ‘Comeblack’ at Amazon.com

SCORPIONS – Sting in the Tail

Scorpions – Sting in the Tail (2010, Universal Music Enterprises)

1. “Raised On Rock” … 3:57
2. “Sting in the Tail” … 3:12
3. “Slave Me” … 2:44
4. “The Good Die Young” … 5:14
5. “No Limit” … 3:24
6. “Rock Zone” … 3:17
7. “Lorelei” … 4:31
8. “Turn You On” … 4:25
9. “Let’s Rock” … 3:22
10. “SLY” … 5:15
11. “Spirit of Rock” … 3:43
12. “The Best Is Yet to Come” … 4:34

Band:
Klaus Meine – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Matthias Jabs – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Rudolf Schenker – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Paweł Mąciwoda –  Bass, Backing Vocals
James Kottak – Drums, Percussion

Additional Musicians:
Tarja Turunen – Vocals (“The Good Die Young)

Producer: Mikael “Nord” Andersson & Martin Hansen

At the time of this album’s release, it has been 45 years since this band was started by Rudolf Schenker, 38 years since their first album (Lonesome Crow) was released and now it may all be coming to an end. This is the group’s seventeenth studio album and this release and its ensuing tour are supposedly meant to be the final chapter in the story of the legendary Scorpions.

I’m not so sure if I believe that. It all sounds well and good and logical that the band would want to leave before they get too old to do this and leave while they can still create new music worth listening to but how many times has a band “retired” only to have a change of heart (if they were ever sincere about it at all)? Once this tour is over, I’m sure the band, if not the members themselves (Klaus has stated he and the Brothers Schenker will be working together at some point) will lay low for a few years but who knows? I wouldn’t be shocked or upset if they decided to give it a go again because they are easily one of my favorite bands.

If this truly is to be the final Scorpions album, the band’s heart was in the right place because as much as I loved their updated sound on Humanity: Hour I (and was actually looking forward to hearing a Hour II) the band needs to exit with an effort that is more in line with their “classic” sound. For those that hated Humanity but loved Unbreakable, you’re in luck. This album is full of the party rock Scorpions are known for and much like Unbreakable, it sounds like it is a lost album from the ’80s.

Sting in the Tail doesn’t come close to matching the band’s best output from the early ’80s but it’s a welcome addition to their catalog and stands as a great release on its own merits. It’s a very polished, commercial effort sounding more like something they might have done in the late ’80s sounding similar to Savage Amusement, Crazy World (“Lorelei” reminds me a lot of “Send Me An Angel”) and Unbreakable. I was hoping for a few heavier numbers but I still can’t complain. Who cares that there’s FOUR songs on this album with the word “rock” in the title when everything is so darn catchy? Funny, if you look at the track listing on the back of the album, there’s a few letters in the song titles that are red. Combine them and you get “it rocks”. And that’s what this album does.

Remembering that it took a few months for Humanity: Hour I to make it to stores in my area after its initial release, I pre-ordered this one from BestBuy.com for $7.99 + free shipping. It was the cheapest price I could find online and thought it was pretty cool there was no shipping charge. They timed the shipping perfectly because the album arrived the day it was released in stores (I’m hearing that once again that the album can’t be found in Best Buy just yet).

If it’s really over– thank you, Scorpions, for your forty-plus years of music and thank you for delivering yet another quality album as the final gift to your fans!

Highlights: “Raised On Rock”, “Sting in the Tail”, “Slave Me”, “The Good Die Young”, “No Limit”, “Lorelei”, “SLY”

www.the-scorpions.com
www.myspace.com/officialscorpions

SCORPIONS – Love At First Sting

Scorpions – Love At First Sting (1984, Mercury Records)

1. “Bad Boys Running Wild” … 3:53
2. “Rock You Like a Hurricane” … 4:10
3. “I’m Leaving You” … 4:10
4. “Coming Home” … 4:58
5. “The Same Thrill” … 3:30
6. “Big City Nights” … 4:02
7. “As Soon as the Good Times Roll” … 5:02
8. “Crossfire” … 4:33
9. “Still Loving You” … 6:27

Band:
Klaus Meine – Lead Vocals
Matthias Jabs – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Rudolf Schenker – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Francis Buchholz – Bass, Backing Vocals
Herman Rarebell – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Producer: Dieter Dierks

Another Scorpions album, another fantastic release. It’d really hard to pick my favorite Scorpions album because when they were good they were very good and almost always have zero filler.

Blackout had the classic hit rocker “No One Like You” and Love At First Sting gives us another classic and huge hit for the band: “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. This is a song that is still talked about and ranks high on many best hard rock/metal song lists to this day and also is featured often in commercials, movies and video games. On the back of this song and with support from the follow up singles “Big City Nights” and “Still Loving You” (both minor hits) the album has been driven to sales of 3x platinum and it is the band’s most successful release.

“Still Loving You” is one of the greatest power ballads ever and I always gets a kick out of “Big City Nights” because I usually replace “city” with a popular slang word for a woman’s breast.

This album is a heavy metal classic that in my opinion marks the end of an era for the band. Scorpions would continue to release entertaining albums (for the most part) but the rest of their career would see the band becoming more commercial minded and/or performing a few musical experiments that may or may not have worked depending on your own tastes.

On the cover, I never really noticed until now that the guy is tattooing the woman’s leg. I never closely examined the cover and just assumed he had his hand on her thigh.

Highlights: “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, “I’m Leaving You”, “Coming Home”, “Big City Nights”, “Still Loving You”

www.the-scorpions.com
www.myspace.com/officialscorpions

SCORPIONS – Crazy World

Scorpions – Crazy World (1990, Mercury Records)

1. “Tease Me, Please Me” … 4:44
2. “Don’t Believe Her” … 4:55
3. “To Be With You in Heaven” … 4:48
4. “Wind of Change” … 5:10
5. “Restless Nights” … 5:44
6. “Lust or Love” … 4:22
7. “Kicks After Six” … 3:49
8. “Hit Between the Eyes” … 4:33
9. “Money and Fame” … 5:06
10. “Crazy World” … 5:08
10. “Send Me an Angel” … 4:34

Band:
Klaus Meine – Lead Vocals
Rudolf Schenker – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Matthias Jabs – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Herman Rarebell – Drums
Francis Buchholz – Bass

Additional Musicians:
Jim Vallance – Keyboards
Koen VanBaal – Keyboards

Producer: Keith Olsen & Scorpions

One of the band’s best moments in my opinion is this album which spawned the massive international hit power ballad “Wind of Change”. 1988’s Savage Amusement was slightly disappointing, but Scorpions fired back in 1990 with one of their most infectious albums (it is also their second best-selling release). I can get into every song and sing along each time I play this one.

Scorpions were still in a very polished hard rock mode, but so what? Except for their earliest oddball releases, they’ve always been a commercial hard rock band. Nothing is quite as heavy as “No One Like You” or “Rock You Like A Hurricane” but “Don’t Believe Her” and “Crazy World” come close. The band has always done great ballads as well and the case is no different here — “Wind of Change” is of course an all-time classic and I’ve always been a huge fan of “Send Me an Angel” which is an even more commercial take on the haunting ballads Scorpions are known for.

All told, this is one of my favorite Scorpions albums and definitely light years better than anything else they released in the ’90s.

Highlights: “Tease Me, Please Me”, “Don’t Believe Her”, “To Be With You in Heaven”, “Wind of Change”, “Restless”, “Lust or Love”, “Crazy World”, “Send Me An Angel”

SCORPIONS – Blackout

Scorpions – Blackout (1982, Mercury Records)

1. “Blackout” … 3:47
2. “Can’t Live Without You” … 3:46
3. “No One Like You” … 3:56
4. “You Give Me All I Need” … 3:38
5. “Now!” … 2:33
6. “Dynamite” … 4:12
7. “Arizona” … 3:52
8. “China White” … 6:56
9. “When the Smoke Is Going Down” … 3:49

Band:
Klaus Meine – Lead Vocals
Matthias Jabs – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Rudolf Schenker – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Francis Buchholz – Bass, Backing Vocals
Herman Rarebell – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Producer: Dieter Dierks

This whole album smokes. Amazing rockers and it’s closed with the classic Scorpions power ballad “When the Smoke Is Going Down” (which is one of my favorite songs by the band).

Though “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “Wind of Change” had greater chart success, I think “No One Like You” is an even more important and essential Scorpions song. Just an epic hard rocker.

What else can I say about this classic? This is THE Scorpions album to own and is also a must-have for any hard rock/heavy metal fan. The band would slip further into a commercial sound after this release (and for the most part, they kept delivering the goods), but Blackout is the perfect mix of metallic edge and mainstream hard rock.

Highlights: All of it. This is a metal/rock classic! There’s a reason this is considered the Scorps’ best release.

www.the-scorpions.com
www.myspace.com/officialscorpions

SCORPIONS – Taken By Force

Scorpions – Taken By Force [Remastered] (2002, Hip-O Records)
Originally Release: 1977, RCA Records

1. “Steamrock Fever” … 3:38
2. “We’ll Burn the Sky” … 6:27
3. “I’ve Got to Be Free” … 4:01
4. “The Riot of Your Time” … 4:10
5. “The Sails of Charon” … 4:23
6. “Your Light” … 4:31
7. “He’s a Woman, She’s a Man” … 3:15
8. “Born to Touch Your Feelings” … 7:41
BONUS TRACKS
9. “Suspender Love” … 3:21
10. “Polar Nights (live)” … 6:57

Band:
Klaus Meine – Lead Vocals
Ulrich Roth – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Rudolf Schenker – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Francis Buchholz – Bass, Backing Vocals
Herman Rarebell – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Dieter Dierks

I’ve always been hesitant to try some of the earlier Scorpions albums because I’ve always been told they are somewhat psychedelic, and that’s just no my style. I finally took the chance on this album though because I’ve heard it’s a sign of things to come and is a blue print for the signature sound they would develop fully on albums like Lovedrive, Blackout and Love at First Sting.

Well, it’s true, you can definitely hear where the band was heading in the next decade. In fact, I don’t think any of these songs would sound that much out of place on any of the aforementioned albums. There’s a touch of weird to the album like on “Steamrock Fever” with the kids chanting in the background and on “Born to Touch Your Feelings” with the girls talking near the end, but then again, despite the fact that this band is easily in my Top 10 of all-time, there’s always been something weird about them.

Nonetheless, I have to say this is an essential Scorpions album and like many of their releases, the songs will quickly stick in your head with “The Sails of Charon” easily ranking up there as one of the band’s greatest songs.

The bonus tracks are pretty good. “Suspender Love” I’m assuming was a B-side/unreleased song from the Taken By Force sessions and the live version of “Polar Nights” is from the live album Tokyo Tapes (the studio version can be found on 1976’s Virgin Killer).

Highlights: “We’ll Burn the Sky”, “I’ve Got to Be Free”, “The Sails of Charon”, “Your Light”, “He’s a Woman, She’s a Man”, “Born to Touch Your Feelings”

www.the-scorpions.com
www.myspace.com/officialscorpions

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